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Upstream Battle

80% of marine litter comes from land.
Washed into gutters, blown into streams, lost down drains: litter is carelessly discarded.
So to tackle marine litter, we have to stop litter’s journey from source to sea.
Focused on the River Clyde and its tributaries, Upstream Battle raised awareness, gathered evidence and inspired action.
We connected communities, individuals, schools, and the private and public sectors.
We all have a part to play in keeping the Clyde clean and protecting our seas.

In partnership with

What is Upstream Battle?

It’s estimated that up to 12.7 million tonnes of plastic gets into the sea each and every year – that's a truck full of litter a minute. It's killing wildlife, threatening ecosystems and habitats, and is extremely difficult and expensive to clean up. 

Many initiatives that tackle marine litter are targeted at cleaning up our beaches or trying to remove litter from the sea once it's there. But, as 80% of all marine litter comes from land, we also need to face this problem upstream, where litter is washed into gutters, blown into streams or carelessly discarded. Worryingly, we are seeing a steady increase in the amount of land-based litter, which means there's a greater chance it'll end up in the sea. 

We must stop this cycle of litter and prevent it from entering the sea in the first place.

The first phase of our Upstream Battle campaign focussed on changing littering behaviour to prevent marine litter at source along the River Clyde. Focused on the entire length of the River Clyde and its tributaries, we raised awareness, gathered evidence and inspired action. 

From the Clyde's source in the Lowther Hills, along its major tributaries such as the rivers Kelvin and Leven, to the Forth and Clyde canal, and to the Firth of Clyde, we connected thousands of people in a common goal: to stop litter from getting into the Clyde.  

12.7m tonnes of plastic enters the marine environment every year.
80% of marine litter comes from land.
88% of people living in Scotland believe the amount of litter in rivers is a problem.

How did we do this?

Citizen Science Report

Read about our findings following the first 18 months of surveys.

Help us clean up our rivers and protect our seas.
Donate to Upstream Battle

Our ambassadors

Doug Allan
Photographer and Wildlife Cameraman
Dunfermline-born Doug is a natural history cameraman and presenter on programmes including Blue Planet. Having seen first-hand the impact that marine litter has had on wildlife, he is passionate about raising awareness of this global problem.
See my video
Elaine Hopley
Ocean Rower
Paisely-born adventurer Elaine held the Guinness World Record for the fastest solo female to cross the Atlantic in an open-class boat in 2017. She is one of only 15 women to successfully row an ocean solo. Elaine plans to row across the Pacific Ocean to highlight the impact of marine litter.
See my video
Martin Compston
Actor
Greenock-born Martin is an actor best known for his lead role in BBC’s drama Line of Duty. Having grown up on the banks of the Clyde, he is keen to protect the river for generations to come and to highlight the role the river plays in taking litter out to sea.
See my video

Upstream Battle funders

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